“Gewisse Leichen ausm Keller des BMVg nachholen”

“She has to haul certain corpses out of the defense ministry’s cellar” at this stage, said a Leftists party spokesman about Germany’s new defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.). “Including these weapons projects.”

There was an uproar in the Bundestag after the Greens discovered the defense ministry made a 55-million euro payment to MTU in December 2013 without obtaining Bundestag approval or informing defense ministry management. The payment was compensation for a 2011 decision to reduce the German military’s Eurofighter order from 180 to 140 fighter jets. But budget rules require Bundestag approval for every single expenditure >25 million euros. Germany’s new defense minister said she was shocked and, said Spiegel.de, invited all responsible persons in her ministry to a meeting of her predecessor’s so-called Arms Board [Rüstungsboard] on 19 Feb 2014 to discuss the defense department’s biggest procurement projects.

Update on 20 Feb 2014: New defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (C.D.U.) fired Thomas de Maizière’s state secretary Stéphane Beemelmans and her Weapons department head Detlef Selhausen, “both considered key figures in the Euro Hawk drone controversy” said ARD tagesschau.de. She announced plans to fundamentally reform the German military’s entire planning and procurement because costs and schedules for billion-euro projects are not transparent, she said. ARD tagesschau.de said at this stage corruption cannot be ruled out in the defense ministry and in its complex interrelationships with German industry.

Over the next three months, the German military is going to “transilluminate” [durchleuchten] its ~1200 procurement projects, including gathering suggestions for how they can be better accompanied/managed/monitored and controlled/inspected/checked [begleitet und kontrolliert].

Update on 04 Apr 2014: The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that some major defense procurement projects continue despite the new minister’s freeze.

“Although important decisions have been postponed or cast into question for some large arms orders, other major projects are ongoing, such as delivery of the new A400M transport plane (which has a long history of delays and cost overruns) and the new Puma armored tank (in which many initial deficiencies were found).” And, especially, the defense ministry is quietly preparing for a project that will cost billions, called the TLVS, taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, a new generation of missile defense that will include new missiles, radar equipment, command centers and networking capabilities.

Ten years ago Germany began working with the U.S. and Italy on the new missile defense, called Meads, and has spent about a billion euros on prototypes since then. TLVS project requirements include “360-degree radar and a modular system in which any new components, such as launching platforms or other defense missiles, can be added. The defense batteries should be rapidly transportable by plane to distant theaters.” The defense department is looking at five options for this project, including using Lockheed’s Meads, Raytheon’s Patriots, or combinations of the two. German defense hawks will try to persuade other countries to join in development and deployment, lowering Germany’s costs for both. Vladimir Putin is helping with this by creating interest in missile defense in e.g. Poland and the Netherlands.

(G’VISS ah   LIE chh en   ow! sem   KELLAH   dess   BOON dess min iss TARE ee oom   fir   fair TIED ee goong   NAW chh hole en.)

Rüstungsindustrie

Arms industry.

More names of German arms manufacturers seem to be mentioned in thrillers and suspense novels set in the U.S. than are named in the German news, hence the following incomplete list of European-continent weaponmakers:

Bundeswehr:

The German military is selling its used weapons to countries around the world on a large scale.

Airbus (was E.A.D.S.):

Germany’s biggest arms exporter, at >12 billion euros sales in 2010, ~27% of its total sales, reported Wirtschaftswoche.de. Airbus’s old defense & security division, named Cassidian, manufactures e.g. the Eurofighter jet at its largest plant near Ingolstadt, with another plant at Unterschleißheim outside Munich (both in Bavaria). Airbus makes an A400M troop transporter, Tiger combat helicopter, “N.A.T.O. helicopter 90” with problematic autopilot, monitoring systems, electronica and missiles. With Thyssen, Airbus purchased a naval electronics firm.

Update on 30 Jul 2013: The Munich-based Airbus announced it was combining its Cassidian (weaponry), Astrium (aerospace) and Airbus Military branches into one “aerospace and arms,” Raumfahrt und Rüstung or Defense and Space division which will be headquartered at Ottobrunn, outside Munich.

Notoriously-investigated-for-corruption people involved with Airbus have included: company co-creator and then chairman Franz Josef Strauß (C.S.U.) and arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.

Rheinmetall:

Düsseldorf-based company (North Rhine-Westphalia) that’s apparently one of the world’s biggest defense manufacturers, making Combat Systems, Electronic Solutions and Wheeled Vehicles at factories around the world. Anti-aircraft systems, munitions. Tanks include the Fuchs, the fox, and others: Rheinmetall is partnering with Kraus-Maffei Wegmann to build the Puma tank and the air-conditioned Leopard 2 tank. 2 billion euros in arms sales in 2010, about half its total sales, reported Wirtschaftswoche.de.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 1.5 million euros to persuade the Greek military to buy the “Asrad” anti-missile system manufactured by Rheinmetall in a joint venture with the Swedish Saab company.

Thyssen-Krupp:

Headquartered in the German towns of Essen and Duisburg (North Rhine-Westphalia), this steel company has shipyards that make navy boats and submarines, including the U212 and U214 that use electric drives quietly powered by a fuel cell. With Airbus, Thyssen purchased a naval electronics firm. ThyssenKrupp made about 1.2 billion euros in weapons sales in 2010, reported Wirtschaftswoche.de.

Notoriously-investigated-for-corruption people involved with Thyssen have included: Karlheinz Schreiber.

Update on 03 Dec 2013: ThyssenKrupp recently raised some capital by selling ~50 million shares at ~17 euros each. The increase in stock meant the most important shareholder the Krupp Foundation, which didn’t buy in this time, lost its blocking minority. With the foundation’s ownership in the company dropping to ~23% from ~25%, it could no longer block decisions made at shareholders’ meetings [Hauptversammlung] and thus defend the firm against hostile takeovers and being sold off in pieces [Zerschlagung] by vetoing e.g. fusions, changes made to who’s on the supervisory board, changes to the articles of association or dissolution of the company, Wirtschaftswoche.de elaborated. As long as the Krupp Foundation owned ≤25% they were entitled to three seats on ThyssenKrupp’s supervisory board; under 25%, only two seats.

The reduction in the Krupp Foundation’s power within ThyssenKrupp might have increased the power of Cevian, a 20-employee Swedish firm that buys and sells companies but dislikes being called a hedge fund, wrote Süddeutsche.de. “One of Europe’s most profitable private equity companies,” Süddeutsche.de wrote, Cevian announced it had increased its ownership in ThyssenKrupp to ~6% in September and then nearly 11% after the recent stock sale. Managed by investors Christer Gardell and Lars Förberg, Cevian tends to buy a company’s stock, drive up the stock price and sell after a few years, Süddeutsche.de said, adding that Mr. Gardell has been accused in Swedish media of being a Gordon Gecko-type butcher [“Schlachter“] who likes to break up firms and sell them off piece by piece.

Diehl:

Company based in Nuremberg, Bavaria, that sells missiles. 1.5 billion euros in weapons-industry sales in 2010, about ~27% of its total sales, reported Wirtschaftswoche.de.

MAN SE:

Munich-based transport company that ordered the submarines built at the Thyssen shipyards for which some German prosecutors thought bribes had been paid to government procurement officials in Greece. In 2011, Volkswagen acquired control of MAN SE.

Krauss Maffei Wegmann, KMW:

Munich-based company, with a location in Kassel, that manufactures tanks and self-propelled artillery. It’s a family firm whose main shareholders are the brothers Manfred Bode and Wolfgang Bode. Kraus-Maffei is partnering with Rheinmetall to build the Puma tank and the air-conditioned Leopard 2 tank. Wirtschaftswoche.de reported that Kraus-Maffei is one of the few German companies that only makes weapons, with about 900 million euros in arms sales in 2010.

KMW was named by a man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts. He told Athens prosecutors that he accepted bribes from weapons manufacturers in Germany, France, Russia, U.S.A. and Israel, and specifically from KMW to purchase 170 Leopard 2 tanks. KMW denied this was the case, saying Greece bought the tanks in 2003 after Antonios K. had left his procurement post. Mr. K. also said KMW paid him nearly three-quarters of a million euros to buy artillery.

Update on 21 May 2014: Munich prosecutors are investigating two former Bundestag members (S.P.D.) for taking 5 million euros in a 200-million-euro sale of PzH 2000 tank howitzers to Greece’s defense ministry a decade ago. Some of the money was spent on bribes to Greek officials, investigators think. The corruption statutes of limitation have probably expired so they’re looking into tax fraud aspects. The two S.P.D. politicians worked for K.M.W. as consultants after their Bundestag careers. Dagmar Luuk was chair of the Bundestag’s German-Greek Parliamentary Group with good connections to the S.P.D.’s sister party Pasok in Athens, and Heinz-Alfred Steiner was deputy chair of its Defense Committee.

Update on 26 May 2014: Munich prosecutors are investigating Kraus-Maffei Wegmann’s C.E.O., Frank Haun, and five former managers for tax fraud for deducting bribes paid in the Greek arms deal as operating expenses.

Heckler & Koch:

Southwest German company that exports guns that get mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Headquartered in the tiny Rottweiler town of Oberndorf am Neckar, a centuries-old weapons industry center according to Wikipedia. H&K became British-owned in 1991 when BAe’s Royal Ordnance division acquired it, merging into defence giant BAE in 1999. A recent Zeit.de article said an important H&K investor has been the London-based German investment banker Andreas Heeschen, who signed papers buying the company in Dec. 2002 with his partner Keith Halsey and the BAE subsidiary Royal Ordnance. Another German, Alfred Schefenacker, the son of a man who founded a famous car mirrors manufacturer in Baden-Württemberg, bought in with 5% in 2010.

Zeit.de quoted an arms-industry-briefed Bundestag member from the Leftists party as speculating that a weapons manufacturer might be forced to export more aggressively and less selectively in order to stay afloat after a “financial shark” starts pulling money out of the company. The newspaper cited examples of a world-leader, “quality” garden tools manufacturer that went bankrupt five years after Mr. Heeschen bought it, and a soap manufacturer he purchased and kept in an “existentially threatening” situation according to an auditor interviewed by Wirtschaftwoche, Zeit.de wrote. Heckler & Koch has appeared to be struggling with heavy debt burdens: a 2010 lawsuit by four U.S. hedge fonds against Mr. Heeschen’s handling of debt agreements for the company alleged he and his people were using H&K “like a personal piggy bank” and had pulled $130 million out of the company, buying vacation homes, yachts and airplanes for personal use, according to court documents Wirtschaftswoche had seen. H&K denied this: “The private use of investment objects by shareholders” was always “privately paid for” by said shareholders.

Stuttgart prosecutors, regular police and a customs police investigated Heckler & Koch for violation of the Kriegswaffenkontroll- und Außenwirtschaftsgesetz [“War weapons control and foreign trade law”] after their guns turned up in countries for which no export licenses had been issued: rural Mexico, Georgia vs. Russia in 2008, Libya in 2011. The Zeit.de article quoted the same source as adding that “A third investigation will be looking into suspected bribery of foreign and German officeholders.” H&K and Mr. Heeschen denied that the company illegally exported weapons to countries not on their permit lists, but later an in-house letter in April 2013 told H&K employees it appeared likely that two long-term employees, lone gunmen acting alone, had in fact exported H&K guns directly to Mexico on purpose and not by accident via e.g. the U.S.A., Zeit.de said. The investigation was still ongoing in late August 2013.

H&K has also been criticized in Germany for helping build and supply gun factories in Saudi Arabia, turning that country into an arms exporter in addition to an enthusiastic arms importer. Their Saudi partner MIC (Military Industries Corporation) has since been selling these guns at international weapons shows and on the internet. Mr. Heeschen insisted every MIC sale from the joint venture had been reported to and approved by the proper German authorities.

H&K appears to have declined to protect its gun brands in gaming, with the result that, said Zeit.de, their guns appear in almost every shooter game with the concomitant marketing effects but the company doesn’t have to defend the ethics of licensing that.

Mauser, Feinwerkbau:

Other German gun manufacturers that have been based in Oberndorf am Neckar. The two guys who run L&O Holding said their company owned Mauser, in a 2010 interview in the Emsdettener Volkszeitung linked to by Süddeutsche.de.

Krieghoff:

Gun manufacturer in Ulm (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border). Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Carl Walther:

Gun manufacturer in Ulm (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border) that is owned by PW Group.

Update on 02 Jul 2014: Süddeutsche Zeitung said prosecutors are investigating Heckler & Koch and Carl Walther for illegally exporting weapons from Germany to Mexico and Colombia.

Umarex:

Gun manufacturer in Arnsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia) that is owned by PW Group.

PW Group:

Holding company based in Arnsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia, in the Sauerland) that owns Walther and Umarex and has donated to U.S. gun lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association and/or the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

SIG Sauer:

Switzerland’s Swiss Arms’s German subsidiary, a gun manufacturer headquartered in northernmost Germany, almost in Denmark. Süddeutsche.de reported that in 2013 Swiss Arms belonged to the German investment company L&O Holding.

Update on 02 Jul 2014: Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR said internal documents and statements from multiple insiders at SIG Sauer indicate the company got a German export permit to send pistols to its U.S. subsidiary knowing they would be sent on to police in Colombia. This violates the Bundessicherheitsrat’s export permit conditions, which I don’t know. Customs police and Kiel prosecutors have been investigating since May 2014, but lacked evidence that the German firm knew what would happen to the pistols. Now these internal documents from the company headquarters in Eckernförde were found to contain the words “Customer in Colombia,” as well as an internal warning from a corporate lawyer that the two-step export was “most strictly verboten” and could have “harsh penalties.”

The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo is said to have mentioned that Sig Sauer might have paid bribes in Colombia and that German federal police [Bundeskriminalamt] and customs police [Zollkriminalamt] are in Bogotá to investigate.

Kiel prosecutors are also investigating Sig Sauer for sending pistols to Kazachstan’s presidential guard, again via the U.S. subsidiary.

Blaser:

Gun manufacturer in Isny im Allgäu (Baden-Württemberg, on the Bavarian border) that is owned by L&O Holding.

L&O Holding:

Part of a “Holding-Geflecht” [holdings meshwork, lattice; interwoven holding companies] run by Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier of Emsdetten (North Rhine-Westphalia). Süddeutsche.de reported that L&O donated to the National Rifle Association according to N.R.A. documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Update on 18 Jul 2014: Mr. Lüke and Mr. Ortmeier are said to have made their fortune in textiles, then in 2000 entered the arms industry by buying Sig Sauer, Swiss Arms, Blaser and Mauser. Mr. Ortmeier is said to mainly take care of their textiles interests while Michael Lüke runs the guns companies, said Süddeutsche Zeitung. According to the Commercial Registry [Handelsregister] he has been Sig’s C.E.O. [Geschäftsführer] for years, “sometimes alone.” “In most L&O Holding weapons companies, his name is on the registration documents. The same is true for awkward in-house confidential documents.” Süddeutsche, NDR and WDR said they saw Sig Sauer export documentation listing Mr. Lüke as Ausfuhrverantwortlicher, person responsible for exports.

Ferrostaal:

Paid 149 million euros in late 2011 to conclude a trial for bribing officials in Greece and Portugal to buy submarines. In the Greek bribery story unfolding in December 2013, schmier was paid in Greece to accelerate sales of the U-214 submarine built at the HDW company’s shipyard in Kiel on the northern coast but sold to the Greek military with the Essen-based Ferrostaal’s help (North Rhine-Westphalia). The Greek defense official found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors he received bribes in the U-214 deal from an employee of the Atlas company, which kits out submarines and is now majority-owned by ThyssenKrupp.

Tognum, now Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding:

Group that manufactures tank and naval engines, based in Friedrichshafen (Baden-Württemberg). It includes non-aircraft divisions from Daimler’s spun-off MTU; MTU’s aircraft engine manufactories became the Munich-based MTU Aero Engines.

Update on 07 Mar 2014: Daimler plans to sell its shares in what was known as Tognum to its partners at Rolls Royce. According to Wirtschaftswoche.de, Daimler first spun off the company under the name of MTU Friedrichshafen in 2005, selling it to the investor EQT. They renamed it Tognum and held an initial stock offering in 2007. In 2008, Daimler bought in again. In a 2011 joint venture, Daimler and Rolls Royce purchased the company entirely and took it back off the stock exchange. Tognum’s name was changed to Rolls-Royce Power Systems Holding in early 2014.

MTU Aero Engines:

A Daimler-Chrysler subsidiary headquartered in Munich that makes jet fighter engines among other things. Owned by New York private equity company KKR from 2003 to 2005; Wikipedia said KKR said they sold all their MTU stock on German stock exchanges in 2005. Wirtschaftswoche.de reported MTU Aero made 486 million euros in weapons sales in 2010, 18% of its total sales.

Update on 19 Feb 2014: Uproar in the Bundestag after the Greens discovered the responsible Bundestag committee made a 55-million euro payment to MTU in December 2013 without obtaining Bundestag approval as was necessary. The payment was compensation for a 2011 decision to reduce the German military’s Eurofighter order from 180 to 140 fighter jets. But budget rules require the ministry to obtain approval from the Bundestag’s budget committee [Haushaltsausschuss] for every single expenditure >25 million euros. The two state secretaries responsible for making the payment apparently did not consult with the defense ministry’s management [Hausleitung] as prescribed either. Germany’s new defense minister said she was shocked and, said Spiegel.de, invited all responsible persons in her ministry to an Arms Board [Rüstungsboard] meeting to discuss the defense department’s biggest procurement projects. After the meeting, she fired the two state secretaries and said the Bundeswehr will be thoroughly examining its ~1200 procurement projects over the next three months.

Daimler:

Daimler’s subsidiary Mercedes-Benz Military Vehicles exports them around the world, including to the Gaddafi regime in Libya. Headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg.

Siemens:

Huge electronics and trains manufacturer in Erlangen, Bavaria, that partnered with IBM to replace the Bundeswehr’s “information and communications technology,” codenamed Projekt Herkules. Costs originally promised at 6.8 billion euros now expected to run to at least 7.8 billion, as estimated by the Association of German Taxpayers [Steuerzahlerbund e.V.] which tries to track German military cost overruns.

Trovicor:

Headquartered in Munich, this surveillance technology firm was originally created at Siemens twenty years ago, where it was called Voice & Data Recording. It was combined into an Intelligence Solutions department at the joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks in 2007, alleges German Wikipedia, and sold to a Munich firm of private investors in 2009. The company has branches in Dubai, Pakistan and Kuala Lumpur. Only governments are said to purchase Trovicor products, such as their “Monitoring Center” (formerly “Siemens Monitoring Center”).

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

Utimaco:

A German company the French company Qosmos said bought their deep packet inspection components to sell them to the Italian surveillance company Area SpA which was building a surveillance system for the Assad regime in Syria that was used to torture people. Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks shows that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

Elaman:

A Munich company specializing in tools for monitoring and analyzing data from just about any communications network.

Süddeutsche Zeitung said information from WikiLeaks showed that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

FinFisher or FinSpy, a.k.a. Gamma, Gamma International GmbH, FinFisher GmbH:

A joint English-German (Munich) enterprise that sells software exploits to governments. E.g., “The FinFly Exploit Portal offers access to a large library of 0-Day and 1-Day Exploits for popular software like Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and many more.” They sell products for accessing e.g. computers and phones, with packages for e.g. remote intrusion or U.S.B. stick penetration sold together with training for remarkably low prices. Clients include governments such as Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, it is alleged. Citizen Lab in Toronto found traces of their software in Brunei, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates, and in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

English Wikipedia alleged that the umbrella company, Gamma Group, specializes in surveillance and monitoring and is owned by a man with an English name via a shell company in an offshore tax paradise. German Wikipedia alleged that that man’s son now owns the company (85%) while a man with a German name owns the other 15%, and that the German government supports the company by providing export credit guarantees [Hermesbürgschaft, Hermesdeckung].

Update on 11 Apr 2014: Gamma is said to have sold a trojan program to the government of Bahrain that was used to attack government critics.

German manager and co-owner Martin Münch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that his firm never violated German weapons export laws, but the S.Z. commented that this is not as exemplary as it sounds because the software is not shipped from Germany but from England. The same European dual-use regulation applies in England and Germany for the export of surveillance technology, S.Z. said, but for attack software it merely requires the purchasing country to create a certificate affirming all is properly installed as agreed and send that certificate to the exporter, who archives it. Neither Mr. Münch nor the responsible German Economy Ministry wanted to tell the newspaper how often the government inspects the certificates and the accuracy of their contents.

S.Z. said information from WikiLeaks shows that employees from the German companies Trovicor, Utimaco, Elaman and Gamma travel regularly to countries with authoritarian regimes.

DigiTask:

Hessian software company that admitted in 2011 they’d sold software that could be behind the Bundestrojaner to the Bavarian government in 2007. They sold similar surveillance software to state and federal governments in Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

According to Deutsche Welle’s 2011 article,

“an online record on an official European Union website shows that in 2009 the German Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) paid DigiTask over 660,000 euros ($897,000) for the construction of a ‘wiretap testing and monitoring system.'”

D.W. said a Bavarian attorney said this trojan was installed on his client’s laptop at the Munich airport.

Rohde & Schwarz:

Die Zeit described this company as a weapons manufacturer. Nominally, the company makes and sells “high-frequence measurement technology, radio communication, television broadcasters, radio broadcasters, locational technology and surveillance technology” according to de.wikipedia and “Cellular, Wireless Connectivity, Navigation, Broadcast TV and Radio” according to en.wikipedia. They’re based in Munich with facilities in the Czech Republic, U.S., Singapore, Korea, China, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Singapore and Malaysia, among others.

Mowag:

Swiss company that makes armored vehicles. Founded in 1950 in Switzerland, it is now owned by the U.S. weapons manufacturer General Dynamics. In 2003, General Dynamics merged it with Spain’s Santa Barbara Sistemas and Austria’s Steyr Spezialfahrzeug to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

Update on 06 Mar 2014: The Swiss parliament voted 94 to 93 to overturn a ban on exporting weapons to countries with human rights problems. Proponents for overturning the ban said Swiss companies shouldn’t be disadvantaged economically because they can’t sell weapons to e.g. Saudi Arabia like e.g. Sweden or Austria. What’s funny is that the Spiegel.de article reporting this showed tanks made by Mowag AG, which belongs to the U.S.A.’s General Dynamics, which also owns the Austrian competitor.

Swiss UAV:

Switzerland-headquartered drone manufacturer that has partnered with Sweden’s Saab Group.

BAE Systems:

British firm that’s one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers, called Europe’s second-largest after General Dynamics in July 2014. Said to make jet fighters, military submarines, aircraft carriers and bits of French nuclear weapons, though they announced they’d discontinued their production of land mines and cluster bombs after public protest. Buys, sells and owns pieces of many other weapons manufacturers around the world.

BAE manufactures a competitor to Krauss Maffei Wegmann’s “Leopard 2” tank, called the “Challenger.”

Serious corruption investigations of BAE apparently by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office, the U.K.’s National Audit Office, the U.S.’s Department of Justice and a Tanzanian prosecutor whose life was threatened, about sales to countries such as Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the Czech Republic, Romania, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.

Rolls-Royce:

British aircraft engine manufacturer that makes jet fighter engines, submarine nuclear reactors. Partnered with Bavarian car-maker BMW, who bought their car-manufacturing subsidiary.

MDBA:

Trans-European missile manufacturer that’s been acquiring missile companies from Germany, Spain, France, Italy, U.K. and U.S.A.

MDBA’s German branch, which used to be called LFK-Lenkflugkörpersysteme GmbH, makes “smart bombs,” cruise missiles or guided missiles. It was headquartered outside Munich but has been moved to a small town near Ingolstadt, Bavaria.

While touring Kurdistan in January 2014, Bundestag member Jan van Aken (Leftists) and journalists traveling with him were shown Milan anti-tank missiles, manufactured by MDBA in a German-French partnership, that Al Qaeda is now using to fight in Syria. It’s not clear exactly how these particular bombs got to where they were found, but Germany sold thousands of Milan missiles to the Assad government in the 1970’s. Now Al Qaeda-affiliated groups have managed to divert some and are fighting with them. Although France was usually listed as the seller of these “so-called small arms,” NDR wrote, Germany had a veto right to stop any sales. Islamist rebel groups have apparently uploaded videos of themselves plundering Assad-family weapons caches that include Milan missiles. Syrian videos have also been uploaded showing the missiles in use, including ones of more recent manufacture than the 1970’s.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 400,000 euros to persuade the Greek military to buy Exocet missiles manufactured by MDBA.

Saab:

The famous Swedish car company was apparently only a subsidiary to a large Swedish aerospace and defense manufacturer. Sometimes partners with the U.K.’s BAE. They make unmanned aerial systems, aerostructures, fighter jets, unmanned underwater vehicles, sensor systems, jammer systems, “signature management systems,” missiles, torpedoes, ground combat weapons, remotely operated (ground) vehicles, radar systems for land, sea and air, electronic defense systems, and provide military training and education. Military jets include the Gripen.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 1.5 million euros to persuade the Greek military to buy the “Asrad” anti-missile system manufactured by Rheinmetall in a joint venture with Saab. Antonios K. also said he received ~240,000 euros to encourage purchase of Saab’s Arthur locatory radar system.

Volvo:

The Swedish truck manufacturer has an arms branch, because there was talk about it as a possible candidate for a merger with Krauss Maffei Wegmann.

Volvo owns the French company Renault Trucks Defense, which is partnering with the Russian arms manufacturer Uralwagonsawod (under U.S. sanction for destabilizing eastern Ukraine) to develop a tank. Uralwagonsawod said in June 2014 that the project was still on schedule. Volvo will be providing the tanks’ engines.

Finmeccanica:

Italian defense contractor that has delivered to the Assad government in Syria. In partnership with various firms around the world, Finmeccanica makes jet fighters, military aircraft, helicopters, space stuff, defense electronics, security electronics, “defense systems.” The Italian government still owns a stake in the company. Two recent C.E.O.’s have had to step down after corruption charges. In a 2013 article, Spiegel.de said about Finmeccanica that “Italy’s largest manufacturer of planes and weapons is said to have passed opulent bribes to foreign customers, from which admittedly a portion had to flow back to the donors.”

Hacking Team:

Milan-based firm that sells surveillance software to governments, including ones with questionable human rights records.

Area SpA:

An Italian software company based outside Milan that was building a surveillance system for the Assads in Syria, according to the French firm Qosmos. The German company Utimaco was also involved, Qosmos said.

Beretta, Benelli, Franchi:

Italian companies that export guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Listed as “corporate partners” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Iveco:

Italian industrial vehicles manufacturer, under Fiat, that makes armored vehicles.

When Sergej Schojgu became the Russian defense minister in early 2013, he immediately canceled the purchase of 1275 armored vehicles from Iveco, said the F.A.Z. The Russian military had to buy the deal’s first tranche of 1775 vehicles for 1.5 billion euros, but they said they were only doing it to avoid breach of contract.

Glock:

Austrian company that exports guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries. Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Steyr:

Austrian company that exports guns mentioned in U.S. murder mysteries.

Steyr Spezialfahrzeug:

Austrian company that makes armored vehicles. General Dynamics bought it from the U.S. car manufacturer General Motors’s weapons division in 2003 and merged it with Spain’s Santa Barbara Sistemas and Switzerland’s Mowag in 2003 to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

FN Herstal:

Fabrique National d’Herstal, Belgium, which Wikipedia alleges is Europe’s largest small arms manufacturer and owns the famous U.S. firms Winchester (U.S. Repeating Arms Company) and Browning. Listed as “corporate partner” of the National Rifle Association in documents acquired by the Violence Policy Center (U.S.A.).

Dassault Group:

French company whose subsidiaries e.g. manufacture aerospace vehicles and equipment, fighter jets, missiles, logistics systems and military simulators. It owns France’s second-largest newspaper of record, Le Figaro.

A man who was in charge of “Rüstung” for the Greek military from 1992 to 2002 and was recently found to have ~14 million euros in secret accounts told Athens prosecutors that he received 800,000 euros to persuade the Greek military to buy “Mirage 2000”-type fighter jets manufactured by Dassault.

DCNS:

French company majority-owned by the French government that makes Armaris submarines, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and e.g. amphibious assault ships. DCNS and Thales partnered to create the Armaris submarine manufacturer.

Investigated in France for allegations of bribery in e.g. Malaysia and Taiwan.

DCNS manufactured the two helicopter carriers France still wants to deliver to the Russian navy in the fall of 2014.

Thales:

Large French defense manufacturer, partly owned by the French government. Thales and DCNS partnered to create the Armaris submarine manufacturer.

Wikipedia said a financial advisor to South African president Jacob Zuma’s A.N.C. party “was found guilty of organizing a bribe on behalf of Thales” and the World Bank has blacklisted Thales for bribery. Thales was told to pay the biggest bribery fine in modern French history in the 2011 resolution of a 1991 case involving the sale of frigates to Taiwan, a dead Taiwanese procurement officer and alleged large ferbribery slush funds in Swiss bank accounts, back when the company was called Thomson-CSF.

Vupen:

Montpellier-based French firm that calls itself “The Leading Provider of Defensive and Offensive Cyber Security Intelligence.”

Qosmos:

French company that sold deep packet inspection software, matériel de surveillance, to the Assad regime in Syria. After complaints from human rights organizations, the French government is now investigating this company for assisting to commit torture.

In 2012, Qosmos said it didn’t sell the software directly to the Assads. Instead, the company said, before quitting the project in 2011 they sold the software to a German firm called Utimaco, who sold it to an Italian firm called Area, who handled things from there. Also, Qosmos said, when they dropped out in 2011 the software wasn’t finished yet and couldn’t be fully implemented. In a recent response to the media, Qosmos still said they didn’t sell to Syria. Qosmos said they don’t sell surveillance systems, merely components that their clients can put into things.

Renault:

Renault Trucks Defense has been working on a project since early 2013 with the Russian arms manufacturer Uralwagonsawod (which is on the U.S.’s sanctions list for contributing to the destabilization of eastern Ukraine). They are developing a tank. The Russian side said the first functioning prototype should be available in September 2015.

In early April 2014 the French side said the proect had been suspended, but in late June 2014 Oleg Sijenko, the C.E.O. of the Russian side, said the E.U. sanctions had not affected the project. The government of France is said to want to please Uralwagonsawod because it is the majority shareholder of the French steelworks Sambre et Meuse, which employs ~300 people.

Renault Trucks Defense is owned by the Swedish arms manufacturer Volvo.

Santa Barbara Sistemas:

Spanish company that makes armored vehicles, weapons systems and ammunition. Acquired by the U.S. weapons manufacturer General Dynamics in 2001. General Dynamics combined it with Austria’s Steyr Spezialfahrzeug and Switzerland’s Mowag in 2003 to form their General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems business unit, headquartered in Vienna.

General Dynamics:

Europe’s biggest weapons manufacturer, followed by BAE and, if their merger goes through, the combined Krauss Maffei Wegmann and Nexter tank and artillery manufacturers.

(RISSSS toongs in dooze tree.)

Kosten-Preis-Analysengruppe

“Cost/price analysis group,” what retired inspector-general pricing & logistics director Harry Kleinknecht said the U.S. Army doesn’t have, “much less an experienced one.”

A recent inspector general report’s criticized that the Boeing company, the Pentagon’s number two supplier after Lockheed, tried to overcharge the military billions of dollars, discovered in four audits over the past five years. Boeing apparently misinterpreted an inflation formula ~$2 billion in its own favor, for example. The audits caught them e.g. invoicing for new helicopter parts but installing used ones, a situation so old it sounds like how Harry Truman said he rose to F.D.R.’s attention as a congressman during World War II: by driving a congressional committee investigating lethal waste, fraud and abuse committed by military contractors (and not by being a machine politician).

Retired I.G. Boeing auditor Harry Kleinknecht also criticized that the military’s tactics and force preparedness were insufficient “in complex negotiations” with its contractors and that it did not properly inspect, evaluate and respond to the quality of results delivered, or not delivered. When the military failed to know how many items they needed of a part while ordering it, they would let Boeing oversell them, millions of dollars. When they failed to know a part’s market price or what Boeing’s manufacturing costs were for it, they would let Boeing overcharge them, millions of dollars (~$2000 each for a ~$12 part, ~$600 each for a ~$10 part). Contracting officials lacked the engineering? accounting? criminal justice? experience to discern what some of the problems that needed fixing were, Harry Kleinknecht indicated. Bloomberg.com said the inspector general’s report deemed the military’s contract management “lax.” A spokesperson for the inspector general’s office mentioned that the wording of the military procurement contracts could have but did not prevent some of the more expensive and possibly dangerous suppliers’ misunderstandings in the suppliers’ favor, a situation that can hopefully be improved by leveraging the experience accumulated in this area for >100 years.

Thanks to Harry Shearer for mentioning this Bloomberg report on his weekly news podcast, le Show.

(COST en   PRIZE   on ah LEEZ en grue peh.)

Selbstständig ausweichen, eigenständig ausweichen

Independently avoid, autonomously avoid.

The airspace regulation problem cited for why the European Aviation Safety Agency and the U.S.A.’s Federal Aviation Administration refused to allow the at-one-time largest remotely operated drone, the U.S./German Euro Hawk, to fly over U.S. and European airspace was the agencies’ requirement for “sense-and-avoid” technology ensuring drones avoid collisions with other aircraft as well as a human pilot would do. Wouldn’t guaranteed collision avoidance be impossible without first implementing Isaac Asimov-like laws of robotics to the extent that the drone would “want” to survive and protect just as much as a human pilot? Even Asimov’s laws of robotics might not fix drones’ vulnerability to remote hacking that could deliberately crash them, armed or unarmed. Supplementary to the air traffic rules preventing collisions with other aircraft, what regulations might help keep hacked or broken drones from colliding with objects on the ground or in orbit?

The situation may be evolving and toward deregulation of anticollision requirements in the U.S.A.: an FAA.gov press release dated 26 Jul 2013 announced a “giant leap” and “milestone” had been achieved because the Federal Aviation Administration was for the first time “type-certifying” unmanned aircraft for flight: the Scan Eagle X200 from Insitu and the PUMA from AeroVironment, each weighing ca. 55 pounds with ~3-meter wingspans. “A falcon flying blind,” that cannot “see” without its ground stations, the Euro Hawk was said to weigh 15 metric tons and be 40 meters wide. Its delivery flight was supposed to be at 20,000 meters altitude.

Germany’s Euro Hawk surveillance drone program was canceled in May 2013—and the sudden course correction may only have been caused by a concerned whistleblower who informed Bundestag member Hans-Peter Bartels (S.P.D.) in whose district they were going to base the crash-prone drones. Since then, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.) was caught lying about when he knew the Euro Hawk was a bust yet didn’t report this and continued paying for the program. If the German defense ministry under Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.), Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (C.S.U.), Franz Josef Jung (C.D.U.) and Peter Struck (S.P.D.) ignored internal warnings for years saying this seemingly-unsolvable safety problem was unsolvable under the planned budget and schedule, then people in government appear to have been several hundred million euros certain they could eliminate the air traffic regulations rather than fix the engineering issue.

The Euro Hawk prototype delivered from California to Germany in 2011 twice lost contact with its operators, according to FAZ.net, for about ten minutes each time. When found again it had deviated from course and “even lost altitude.”

German voters already experience a frisson of angst if they see or hear military jets in the air because it reminds them of when hundreds of spectators were sliced and burned in the firey crash of fighter jets flying in formation at an air show over Ramstein air base. The notorious industrial band took the name Ramstein after the disaster as an act of provocation.

(ZELL bst shten dick   OW! ss vye chhen,   EYE geh n shten dick   OW! ss vye chhen.)

Krankenpfleger-, Dolmetscher- und Übersetzerpreise

Prices of nurses, interpreters and translators.

A year or two after the second U.S. invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld said the occupation was having trouble finding enough nurses and translators and he was thinking about reinstating the draft but just for people in those professions. His proposal came as a bit of a shock, but the problem was no surprise. Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni for example had criticized in the run-up to Iraq II that Mr. Rumsfeld and his people had thrown out years of resource planning the Pentagon had researched for invasions into that (and any) corner of the world.

Consequences: No drafts for that one. Maybe the next one. General Zinni appeared to be punished for speaking out and forced to retire. He wrote books, became a decent television pundit and joined the private sector, at companies like Veritas Capital and B.A.E. Systems. Initially, colleagues and clients said translators of languages such as Arabic, Pashto and Urdu had started making six-figure annual salaries working for the federal government, but then word and hourly rates or annual salaries being mentioned to me went back down again as the jobs got sourced through several hops of companies, each taking their cut.

(CRONK en fleggah,   DOLE metchah   oont   ÜÜÜ bə ZETS ah prize ah.)

Bettgeflüster

“Bed whispers,” German title of the old movie “Pillow Talk” starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Ezra Klein’s blog on the Washington Post recently posted about different types of public and private employees who have been caught or might be caught inappropriately making use of the vast phone and internet databases being collected and shared by e.g. the N.S.A.; one of the the least problematic bad uses so far has been to laugh about people’s private pillow talk.

Policemen: Police officers around the U.S.A. were caught using the F.B.I.’s huge N.C.I.C. database to snoop on each other, their significant others or, in one case, women a policeman wanted to cook and eat.

Military: The N.S.A. is part of the military. Fwiw, they said only a small number of people can search their phone records database (Edward Snowden?). A former N.S.A. employee told ABC in 2008 that N.S.A. employees used to listen to overseas soldiers’ phone sex.

Spies: There are fears inside and outside the U.S.A. that intelligence agencies around the world are spying on each other’s domestic populations as a favor to help local agencies circumvent laws protecting their citizens against domestic surveillance by their own governments. As a favor then your country’s communications data would be bulk-hoovered by at least one other country’s intelligence agencies and stored there before being shared with your country’s intelligence agencies…

Mercenaries: If 70% of the U.S.’s intelligence budget has been spent on private contractors in recent years, including on Edward Snowden’s former employer, then tens of thousands of guys must have worked these jobs by now with access to databases and powerful tools.

Telecommunications companies: Ars Technica posted that U.S. intelligence agencies partner with a U.S. telecom company to (somehow) collect phone and internet data from local telecom companies in foreign countries. Providing historical perspective, WaPo wrote that when giant fiber optics network operator Global Crossing went bankrupt in 2002 and was being bid on by firms from Hong Kong and Singapore, the U.S.A.’s F.C.C. held up approval of the deal until systems for U.S. government access to those networks had been agreed to. That model, worked out by reps from Defense, Justice and Homeland Security departments, has now been used by the F.C.C.’s “Team Telecom” for other telecom companies too. Phone companies, phone companies that provide internet connections, cable television companies that provide internet connections and companies that run, maintain or manage copper, fiber optic, satellite and other networks: all have employees and consultants that might also be able to access such data.

Software and content providers: “nine major” U.S. companies including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and AOL have been sharing customer communication data with U.S. intelligence agencies; their employees and consultants might also be able to access these data.

News agencies and newspapers: Rupert Murdoch’s phone-hacking scandal in London indicates at least U.K. journalists have succeeded in paying police to acquire the kind of private information stored in these big databases. Such news companies’ employees and consultants, and their subsidiaries’ and parent corporations’ employees and consultants, and anyone capable of tapping journalists’ insecure computers and phones, might access all journalists’ data including those data obtained from police.

(BETT geh FLÜÜ stah.)

MISO-Süppchen

“A little MISO soup.” The US Defense Department has changed the name of Psy-Ops, psychological operations, to the more pleasant-sounding MISO, military information support operations. Private contractors such as Navanti Group provide MISO to e.g. the vastly grown Special Operations Command, SOC, in Tampa, Florida, according to the Washington Post.

In a 07 Jul 2013 article about how Navanti created a dossier on a US citizen living in Minnesota, WaPo wrote:

“The Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psychological operations at home or targeting U.S. audiences with propaganda, except during ‘domestic emergencies.’ Defense Department rules also forbid the military from using psychological operations to ‘target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.’

“Last year, however, two USA Today journalists were targeted in an online propaganda campaign after they revealed that the Pentagon’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan owed millions of dollars in back taxes. A co-owner of the firm later admitted that he established fake Web sites and used social media to attack the journalists anonymously.”

(Me zo ZIPP chhen.)

Vorsyndromliche Syndromverfolgung

“Pre-syndrome syndrome tracking,” by starting long-term medical studies on groups of workers known to have undergone exposure to certain hazards limited by time and place. To prevent the clouds of confusion of another Gulf War syndrome, reliable medical schools could ask for volunteers for long-term studies on the health developments of veterans of the Second Gulf War, TSA workers who had to stand next to X-ray machines, Fukushima cleanup workers, etc. Regular good checkups and tests might also benefit any American workers who lack health insurance. The questionable environments to which they were exposed should also be evaluated sooner rather than later, recording and taking samples of possible toxins that can be compared to outcomes decades from now.

More than one institution should study each cohort in case their study’s funding gets cut one day.

(FORE zyn DROME lichh ah   zyn DROME fair fol goong.)

Der Obergefreite, die Obergefreite

This military rank looks like it means “upper-level liberated person,” but it is translated into English as e.g. “private first class” or “lance corporal.”

(DARE   OH brrr geh FRY tah.)

Generalsekretariat für Staatseinnahmen

“General Secretariat for Revenues,” a newly created department in the Greek government responsible for checking government income. Its head used to be in charge of the Greek General Secretariat for Information Systems (GSIS). In response to the “Offshore Leaks” data release last week, the Greek Revenues office will be investigating, among other things, a chain of offshore companies that have been providing military technology to Greece and the USA but whose actual ownership remains a mystery.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported: “Interoperability Systems International Hellas S.A. […] was co-awarded a 190-million euro order in 2003 for kitting out Greek F-16 fighter jets. The company also delivered hardware and software to the US Marines. In 2003, 33% of ISI belonged to Bounty Investments Ltd., which in turn owned part of another offshore company. Over that company there was a third veil as well. An attorney for ISI Hellas said Bounty Investments ‘fulfilled all requirements of the Greek tax authorities.’ Some experts think companies in the defense sector fundamentally ought not to be messing around in cloudy offshore waters.”

Update on 10 Apr 2013: This highly entertaining* SZ article about a British family that managed letterbox companies (Briefkastenfirmen) in New Zealand and includes Miami, Moscow, Pyongyang, Teheran and Vanuatu notes that it becomes impossible to trace ownership after only three to four “dummy companies” (Scheinfirmen). “After three, four dummy companies in a row the track gets lost in a thicket of commercial registers (Handelsregister, HRB).”

(Genn er OLL seck rett arr ee OTT   foor   SHTOTS eye nom men.)

 * highly entertaining until the deaths of two Russian reformers at the very end of the piece: Sergej Magnitskij (37) and Alexander Perepilitschnij (44).

 

Transall

The type of the two transport planes Germany originally sent in January 2013 to support France’s intervention in northern Mali. France then asked for more military support from Germany, such as planes that could refuel French fighter jets in the air. Germany’s Green Party was among those questioning the wisdom of this; Bundestag member Katja Keul said for example that it is crucial that any military aid should transition to a political process, “because the military can never bring the solution to the problem.” However, Germany then agreed to send 40 soldiers for training purposes. On 18 Feb 2013 Spiegel-Online reported that Angela Merkel’s government was planning to ask the Bundestag to increase that to “up to 330” soldiers, i.e. 180 for training and 150 for logistics. The 18 Feb Spiegel article also mentioned that Germany was now providing three Transall and one in-flight refueling Airbus planes to the multinational effort in Mali.

(Tronz ollll.)

Militärischer Abschirmdienst, MAD

“Military shield service.” Germany’s military intelligence agency, for which Wikipedia gives the following numbers:

– about 1250 civil and military employees

– central office in Cologne with twelve branch offices around the country

In October 2010 the Bundestag’s confidential committee (“Vertrauensgremium”) responsible for budgetary oversight of the three national intelligence services Bundesnachrichtendienst (foreign intelligence), federal Verfassungsschutz (domestic intelligence) and Militärischer Abschirmdienst (military intelligence) asked the federal government to review whether more efficiency could be achieved by giving the military intelligence service’s remit to the Bundesnachrichtendienst and federal Verfassungsschutz. Because this proposal was not supported by the SPD, Green Party and Leftists (Die Linken), it appears the query was made by (and to) the parties in Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. In July 2012, it was reported that Merkel’s coalition partner the FDP party had openly called for reform of Germany’s intelligence agencies and elimination of MAD. This time it was supported by the Green Party and Leftists (Die Linken). The SPD said they at least wanted the current system to be reviewed. Merkel’s CDU/CSU party wanted to maintain the system as was.

In June 2012, there were reports that MAD too had paid informants in the right-wing German group from which the neonazi serial-killer cell arose (and that some of this money was passed on to the underground cell to support them in their life on the run). It was unclear why military intelligence was involved in this. When the terrorist cell disappeared from one location, MAD received a tip about their new hideout but kept the tip to itself for some reason. In July 2012 the chair of the Berlin committee investigating the neonazi serial killers, Bundestag member Sebastian Edathy (SPD), complained that MAD was not sending his committee their relevant files.

Update on 12 Sept. 2012: Despite being asked multiple times by many Bundestag members for all its information on the neonazi serial killers, on 11 Sept. 2012, in response to a written request by a Green Party Bundestag member, MAD made a surprise announcement that they’d actually started a file on one of the killers in 1995, after he drew attention for right-wing extremist behavior during his mandatory military service and MAD apparently wanted to recruit him as an informant. MAD has known about this file since March 2012. MAD destroyed this file but copies of its contents were found in some Verfassungsschutz offices, including that the guy was asked if he wanted to supply information on the right-wing scene to MAD. MAD’s president says no way did MAD ever intend to acquire the guy as a source–they just wanted to know if he’d bettered his ways–and that they didn’t lie about having the file because they didn’t have the file because they’d shredded it.

This may be nothing, but MAD said when they interviewed the neonazi serial killer in 1995 he was part of a group of six interviewees. On the recovered copy of the shredded interview, I think I saw that the guy was identified as number (6). MAD might be understating how many people they interviewed.

(Meal eat TARE ish er    OB shirm deenst.)

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